Formed in 1984 in Quebec City, the Maïkotron Unit is a group dedicated to the exploration of new sounds. The music is based around the rich sounds of the hybrid brass/reed instrument called the maïkotron which was invented and built by Michel Côté in 1982. It is a woodwind instrument, played with the reed and the mouthpiece of a saxophone , but made up of many instruments at once: trumpet valves, the bell of a cornet, parts of a euphonium and a clarinet. It has a range of about five octaves and produces a myriad range of tonalities. The juxtaposition of the classical cello and bass clarinet with the raw cries of the maïkotron create a diverse and multi-layered musical palette.
The musicians of the Unit are all jazz players who have been recording their maïkotron explorations regulary in a variety of environments, particularly chapels and churches. Their recordings to date include: No Bound (rant 9102), Too Gather (rant 9103), Requiem (rant 9104), Naufragé (rant 9311), Dum Præliarétur (rant 9312), L'Escamoteur (rant 9419), Ex-Voto (rant 1140), and Effugit (rant 1243).
The Maïkotron Unit was nominated for the Prix de la Culture de Québec in 1994.
"Requiem: there are moments of ethereal beauty counted by searing probes of rhythm and emotion." TORONTO STAR
"Naufragé: distinctive improvised music weaving seamless sound patterns with classical, folksy and accessibly modern elements that render musical boundaries irrelevant." TORONTO STAR
"Too Gather: moves through an unusual series of miniature, tightly controlled improvs . . . suggestive of Stravinsky chamber music." OPTION
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